Thursday, June 17, 2021

Splendido Villa Audio/Video

By Merlin Benningfield
Managing Partner

As home theater technology continues to evolve, the demand for Audio/Video professionals has been growing.  Fast Rhino has had the opportunity to consult on several challenging A/V projects over the past decade.

Not all projects are as easy as they appear on the surface. Recently, we had a long-time client move into a new villa at Splendido and they needed new televisions installed. We carefully surveyed the new location and provided a comprehensive plan for installation.

The existing living room wiring was not at all conducive to a modern home theater, which needed HDMI terminated to the television, not Coax. The client wanted their cable box out of view, yet access to rerouting these cables was limited.
Fast Rhino utilized some creative cabling techniques to route existing Coax, run new HDMI and mount a new TV with sound bar to a tough masonry wall.

In addition, we mounted another bedroom TV and sound bar combination, creating a wire-free, almost floating appearance. 

If you are looking for professional results with your audio video project, simply contact Fast Rhino


Saturday, June 5, 2021

Computer Options

By Mike Brookhouser
Operations Manager & Partner

There are a number of options available when choosing a computer: Tablets, Laptops, Desktops, All-in-Ones, or Custom Builds and their operating systems can be Windows, MacOS, Linux, ChromeOS or Android.

Don't let the buying process be intimidating. It's pretty easy to whittle down your choices with a few questions. Where are you going to use it?  What do you want to do with it? Is there an option you require?
Where are you going to use it?
If it's going to be something you don't want to move around then an All-in-One or Desktop may be your best bet. If you want to be able to take it with you when you travel then a Laptop or Tablet may fit better.
What do you want to do with it?
Passing the time playing games, email, surfing the web and other light duty activities can be accomplished with just about any machine. However, if you want to use a flight simulator, do photo or video editing with large files or other intensive work you want to steer towards a desktop or a custom build. 

Is there an option you require?
It may be as simple as... you've used Apple products all your life and it's what you're comfortable with. Or maybe your work...or kids prefer you to get this or that. Whatever it is, it makes sense to know your requirements.
Here's some general information: Keep in mind that there are always exceptions, so if you have specific needs just ask and we’ll see what we can do.
Tablets range in size from that of a large phone to the size of a small laptop. They are touch screens and usually don’t come with a keyboard. Most can add a physical keyboard, but out-of-the-box, it comes with an on-screen keyboard. They connect to the Internet using either your Wi-Fi connection or your a data package, if it supports it.
Laptops generally range in size from 11 to 17 inches. They may or may not be touchscreen. They have a physical keyboard attached. Some will be able to connect with a physical Ethernet cable and some will even connect using your phone's data package but they can all connect using Wi-Fi.
All-In-Ones generally are 24” to 32” and may or may not be touchscreen. They usually come with a wireless keyboard and mouse. They should connect to the Internet using Wi-Fi, and most will have an Ethernet port.
Desktops are where customization starts to come into play. There are many different sizes. You can get one that will fit in the palm of your hand or one that will be a couple feet tall. Our best selling desktop is 13”D x 14”H x 6.5”W.  You can also do some customizing with most desktops. But some are very limiting. We recommend talking to a professional if you plan on customizing at all. You can add a hard drive or video card. You may be able to add Wi-Fi or it may come with wifi. There are many options and many things you can change. They may or may not come with a keyboard and mouse. With a desktop you will need to buy a monitor or use your old one if you have it. This can be a good thing because you can pick one that fits your needs. If you’re limited on space you can get a smaller one, if you have plenty of room and do a lot of photo editing or spreadsheet work then having 2 or more screens may be for you.
Custom Build
With a custom build, the sky's the limit. If you can dream it, we can build it. Gaming, Home Theatre, Work. If you need anything more extreme than what a standard computer will handle, this is for you. Do you want to keep track of your stocks on 8 screens, stream content to an 85” 8K TV or maybe just fly a flight simulator on a 100” projector? Custom builds can be loads of fun, but they can also get expensive. The normal custom systems we do are usually for someone who wants or needs a CPU, video card or RAM upgrade that just doesn’t make sense to put in an off the rack desktop.
So now that you have a general idea of the type of systems available, let’s talk about operating systems. Usually, you have a specific reason for getting a computer and that can sometimes dictate which OS you go for. If you’ve used Apple products all your life, stick with the MacOS. If you’ve used a Windows PC all your life, stick with a Windows OS. Switching between the two isn’t usually a hard thing to do but there can be a learning curve, so we recommend sticking to what you know. Linux is an open source operating system and is generally used by people who love to get into the guts of an OS. But it also has the ability to be a very basic machine, and that’s our target audience with Linux. People that just want to surf the web, write some letters and check email get along well with Linux, too. In fact, Linux machines can be extremely affordable, since the OS is free. Google provides a Chrome OS in their Chromebooks, which are limited use laptops, but sufficient for surfing the web and checking email.

MacOS, Windows, ChromeOS & Linux can be on Laptops, Desktops, All-In-Ones and Custom Build systems. Tablets usually run Apple iOS or Android, sometimes Windows.
Some of the biggest mistakes we see when people buy systems are getting something that doesn’t fit their needs or getting something that should not have been sold in the first place. Buying an older, recertified system that has been upgraded with more ram and a solid state hard drive doesn’t help you if the computer doesn’t support Windows 10. And unfortunately, we have seen “legitimate” companies out there sell unsupported systems. Another big mistake is getting a system with a very small hard drive and cheap processor. We’ve worked on systems that don’t even have space to do handle system updates. You’re usually not doing yourself any favors by wasting money on a system like that.

OK, I know we threw a lot of info at you there. Contact us with any questions or concerns.